Book Rondo
Warm-up: Passing the Rhythm

The objective of these exercises is to establish a focus and attention to non-verbal communication in the drum circle. These exercises begin with body percussion and then can be transferred to the drums. Use the rhythms from the “Book Rondo” (see below).

The students are sitting on chairs in a circle.

  • The leader begins playing a four-beat rhythm using body percussion (snap, clap, pat, and stamp). As the leader makes eye contact with the person next to him or her in the circle, that individual takes up the rhythm.
  • The leader continues to make eye contact with each person individually around the circle until everyone is performing the initial rhythm.
  • The process continues as a new rhythm is introduced and imitated when eye contact is made.
  • Eventually, four rhythms are being performed simultaneously.
  • Note that every second rhythm sent should be fairly simplistic (four claps). In this way the underlying beat is always audible.

Question and Answer:

The class drums the question using the drum

  • What’s your favourite book?
  • One student drums the answer.
  • Continue this activity until everyone has had an opportunity to answer or as time permits.

Creating the Rondo
The teacher sets up the A section. See the notation below.


  • Play on the off beat.
  • Say- “I love to read” and play the shaker after every word.

Group Composition
Divide students into small groups to create the B, C, and D sections. Choose four books that they like and speak and drum the rhythms. Students may want someone to keep a steady beat using a “metal”.

Putting It All Together

A: Layer in the parts beginning with the bass drum. Finish the A section with a rumble

B: First composition group (Bass drums)

A: As above

C: Second composition group (Woods and shakers)

A: As above

D: Third group (Medium drums)

A: As above – finish with a crescendo and final accent.